Read Remark Book Review - This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett

Book Review: This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
Published November 2017
Harper

One-sentence summary:
This career-long collection of Ann Patchett’s essays encompass a number of personal and professional insights.

Ann Patchett’s mind is an enjoyable place to inhabit.

Her no-nonsense take on the world and personal drive makes it easy to see why she’s a successful writer.

Her intelligence reminds me of an episode of Frasier. Or, an analogy I used in reviewing Fates and Furies, Diane Chambers eating the $15 artisan challenge.

Judging only by these essays (which is admittedly short-sighted), she’s the type who, at a dinner party, would talk of Proust whilst expertly decanting the Châteauneuf-du-Pape. I, conversely, would accidentally track in mud, make a fart joke, and spill the wine.

My point? Patchett is not inaccessible, but is clearly operating at an elevated level.

It’s good to know this going in. This is the Story of a Happy Marriage is not a warm, friendly girlfriend chatting with you through the pages. Nor is it a series of tips on sustaining a meaningful and lasting relationship. Rather, it’s a highly-driven, highly-intelligent woman laying out her reasoned and thoroughly examined thoughts on paper.

That’s not to say it’s completely hoity toity. This is the Story of a Happy Marriage includes insights and anecdotes on the joys and heartbreaks of dog ownership, happy and unhappy marriages, and the thrilling excruciation of writing. The essay on the LAPD had me hanging on every word.

At the heart of this collection is Patchett’s beautiful artistry with words. When she talks about Rose swimming out to join he and her husband in the ocean, I can feel the strength and love of that family. When she hangs from the bar in her LAPD physical test, I shallowly breathe with her, slowly counting down the years-long minute.

It’s the story of a marriage between Patchett and the world around her. It’s the wonderful embrace of life.